A post you can see, without a photograph

Did you miss me?  I don't generally vanish for so long on ActiveRain.  But if you have connected with me on Facebook then perhaps you knew I had a death in my family and have been away for a while.

And at that family funeral I experienced something very overwhelming hard and beautiful at the same time.  It was the kind of thing that would have made a really beautiful photograph, but in that moment I had so much sadness in my heart and so many tears in my eyes and it seemed wrong to snap a photo. But I believe that I can make you see and feel the beauty in what I saw.  My family had left the funeral home where stories had been shared about the hard worker and good man that my Uncle Harry was by his family and is co-workers. We'd driven an hour to a National Veterans cemetery where he was to be laid to rest.  He served his country in the Navy back in the 60s as did my own father. The ceremony was so moving. 

Standing as taps was played and the American flag that draped his coffin was carefully removed and folded. Only being touched by gloved hands.  His 4 sons were all there in the front, two seated by their mother, my uncles wife and two standing on either side.  Matt, the oldest and Spencer who, also joined the Navy and is still actively serving our great nation.  Spencer stood in uniform.  He had made the comment that he wasn't sure his father ever saw him in his dress blues in person. He stood saluting.  I was not emotionally prepared... but when the flag was folded the thirteen times it was as traditionally passed back and forth between the two who had folded it and then to my surprise it was not directly presented to my Aunt Marsha, but to my cousin. 

Spencer then bowed before Marsha and spoke these words: "On behalf of the President of the United States,  the United States Navy, and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service."

It's a memory, that while I do not have photographs, that will remain with me for all of my days. Can you see it?  Can you see a son taking the flag that just draped his father's coffin and handing to his widow? Tugs at the heart. It took me a few days to be ready to think about anything else. 

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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


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Comment balloon 15 commentsTammy Lankford, • October 25 2016 08:00AM


I am very sorry for your loss and your absence is understandable.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 4 years ago

Hi Tammy Lankford, my heart goes out to you and your family. There is nothing more special than being buried with military honors.  I took pictures at my Father-in-laws ceromony and they have disappeared.  I do not believe taking pictures was meant to be. ....or I would still have them.  God bless you and your family.

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 4 years ago


You did well, and I did not need a photograph.  My heart and condolencess go out to you and your family.  Glad you are back to share this with us.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) about 4 years ago

Hi Tammy-So very sorry for your loss, As someone who is in the throes of the grief process I know it isn't easy. Hugs and prayers for all of you,

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) about 4 years ago

You painted that picture beautifully and brought up so many memories. Sorry for your loss.

Posted by Rebecca Lewis (ODAT Realty Services, Inc) about 4 years ago

Joe Pryor thank you.  ActiveRain is like my extended family and I've missed being here, but my head wasn't in to being social or working.

Sheri Sperry - MCNE Oddly enough yesterday a dear friend who is a professional photographer was hired to capture a military service.  I didn't even know him, yet the video brought me to tears

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 4 years ago

Ron and Alexandra Seigel was a younger brother of my father so not only is my heart very heavy, but a very real sense of mortality is being felt too. Took me a few days to be ready to be back in the frame of mind to be social or think about work at all.

Sharon Lee hugs right back at you.  Thanks

Rebecca Lewis I expect for anyone having ever witnessed it in person, it would bring the memory back to see it again or hear about it.  Thank you.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 4 years ago

Tammy Lankford, I am so sorry for your loss, no pictures needed for this post, beautifully written.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) about 4 years ago

You just painted a very beautiful and heart tugging image.  So sorry for your loss.  Mark

Posted by Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint, North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227 about 4 years ago

Tammy Lankford, prayers and blessing to your entire family.  I have had the privilege to attend several funerals with military honors...and the tears flow.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 4 years ago

Tammy I am so sorry for the loss of your uncle and you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.  I do understand the feeling of that moment as that was the ceremony for my Dad and it was touching beyond words. I can feel it to this day. Take care sweetie....we're all here for you.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) about 4 years ago

Thank you Beth Atalay 

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint heart tugging is exactly how I would describe the moment that is imprinted in my mind

Lisa Von Domek I have also, but a family member never presented the flag in my attendance before.  That was so moving to me.

Anna Banana Kruchten I think it's a memory that will always be with anyone who sees it.  I also believe that anyone having a personal experience with it would ultimately understand respecting the American flag and all that it represents. 

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 4 years ago

Some things are just not suitable for photos, and it seems like your instincts were correct about this one, Tammy. But you are a person who is never at a loss about the right thing to do. It's engrained in you. I see it in your blogs every day.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) about 4 years ago


 I can definitely see it thanks for sharing the heart moving story! 

Posted by Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert about 4 years ago

Tammy, Reading this gave me chills.  That was such an awesome thing and I have never seen it done in that way!

Posted by Sybil Campbell, Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida about 4 years ago